October 28, 2008

Bridging Ages of Librarianship

I had a great time at the Bridging Worlds Conference and spent some amazing vacation days in Cambodia and Malaysia, so I’m late following up on my conference promise to post a link to the slides for my talk Librarian 2.0: New Breed or Just Another Day at the Office? (12.2MB PDF). Please note that these slides are more current than the ones on the conference site. I’ll find out about posting the accompanying paper, too.
The conference itself was wonderful (the organizers did a good job), and I was especially pleased to meet in person:

I also highly recommend playing any of Brian Kelly’s conference speaker games if you ever get the chance. 🙂

For those of you who asked for links, the two major papers I discussed in my talk are Fiat Lux, Fiat Latebra: A Celebration of Historical Library Functions (which details “The Seven Ages of Librarianship”) by D. W. Krummel and Participatory Networks: The Library as Conversation by David Lankes. Both of these gentlemen did all of the heavy lifting for illustrating how we’re moving into an eighth age of librarianship (“participatory librarianship”), and Scott Nicholson connected the dots for me while discussing the historical context of gaming in libraries.
As for pictures, it’s going to take me a couple of weeks to cull and label the 5GB of shots I took (especially since GLLS2008 starts this weekend!), but they’ll eventually appear on my my Flickr account. Thank you to everyone who helped make this one of the most amazing trips of my life.

October 9, 2008

The Read Menace

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Colbert Report – Communist Library Threat

October 6, 2008

Using Video Games to Bait Newspaper Readers

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Using Video Games as Bait to Hook Readers

“Mr. Bagley, now a senior, was so addicted that he sometimes abandoned friends in the dining hall to return to the game. But the story was never the attraction. Both the narrative and the characters, he said, were too simplistic, and he gave up “World of Warcraft” in his sophomore year.
Video games, said Mr. Bagley, 21, ‘certainly don’t have the same degree of emotional and intellectual complexity of a book.’
Some people argue that video games are an emerging medium likely to undergo an evolution. ‘I wouldn’t be surprised if, in 10 or 20 years, video games are creating fictional universes which are every bit as complex as the world of fiction of Dickens or Dostoevsky,’ said Jay Parini, a writer who teaches English at Middlebury College.” [New York Times]

I’m disappointed in this article, not because it isn’t a “rah rah, video games are great” piece, but because I don’t think it reflects what would have come from eight months of research, which is how long the author spent on it. Several librarians, including me, have talked with the reporter since January, and I think we all expected something a little deeper, regardless of the viewpoints expressed. The excerpt above is indicative of the back-and-forth, “one said good, the other said bad” piece. I don’t think this article adds anything new to the debate, and I expected a series titled “The Future of Reading” from the New York Times to offer something more in-depth.
In the end, I think this article is a rorschach test for how the reader feels about video games. If you’re against them, you probably feel like this article validates your objections. If you think video games are okay (or even beneficial), you can also find quotes to support that perspective. Certainly the comments get interesting and continue the “good versus bad” debate, but I keep wondering when we’re going to get past extremes in this discussion in order to figure out how to integrate a format that is clearly here to stay into our kids’ media diet (and into our libraries) in a balanced way.

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